Conduct Regulations

1. Introduction

1.1 The primary purposes of the University are the advancement and application of knowledge and the education of its members; its central activities are teaching, learning and research. These purposes can be achieved only if the members of the University community can live and work beside each other in conditions which permit freedom of thought and expression, within a framework of respect for the rights of other persons. It is the function of University discipline to protect from disruption these essential activities and the administrative structure on which they depend.

1.2 Students are expected to conduct themselves at all times in a manner which demonstrates respect for the University, its staff, fellow students and the wider community.

1.3 The Conduct Regulations uphold the primary purposes of the University, without unnecessarily (a) limiting the freedom of expression and action which members of the University enjoy as citizens within the law; or (b) infringing the privacy of the individual. 

1.4 Guidance on the Conduct Regulations and the protocol for the conduct of disciplinary meetings is available at http://www.qub.ac.uk/directorates/AcademicStudentAffairs/AcademicAffairs/AppealsComplaintsandMisconduct/StudentDiscipline/StudentGuide/

1.5 Where any term used in these Regulations may also constitute a criminal offence, it is the common meaning of the term that is intended.


2. General Principles

 

Delegation of authority

2.1 The authority of the University to take disciplinary action against students who have breached the disciplinary code derives from the powers and authority of the Senate and Academic Council as set out in Statutes V, VII and XI of the University Statutes and the terms and conditions of the agreement entered into by each student and the University upon enrolment.

2.2 No person can therefore be a student without being subject to the disciplinary powers of the Senate and Academic Council. By enrolling on any University course, a student becomes subject to University discipline whether or not they expressly agree to be bound by it, and whether or not they are aware of the substance of the disciplinary rules.

The appropriate Code of Conduct and Discipline Regulations for students registered or receiving tuition in Collaborative Institutions will be set out in the Memorandum of Agreement between the University and the Collaborative Institution. Any issue of interpretation will be determined by the Director of Academic and Student Affairs (University) and the Director/Principal of the Collaborative Institution. Their joint decision will be final.

2.3 Under the Charter and Statutes, the Vice­-Chancellor has ultimate responsibility for student discipline. The procedures in these Conduct Regulations derive from this responsibility and cover matters relating to student discipline. The Vice-Chancellor may delegate this authority to a Pro-Vice-Chancellor and any subsequent reference to the Vice-Chancellor in these regulations should also be read as applying to a Pro-Vice-Chancellor.

2.4 The Vice-Chancellor will normally delegate the authority to deal with disciplinary matters to the relevant Disciplinary Officer or any other officer of the University, as is appropriate, given the circumstances of the case. This will include the decision on whether the cases of all or any of the students accused of the same or substantially similar misconduct shall be investigated and/or heard together.    A reference in these Conduct Regulations to a Disciplinary Officer should be read as also applying to any other officer acting under delegated authority.

2.5 The Disciplinary Officers shall be:

  1. Heads of School, including the Director of the Institute of Professional Legal Studies and the Director of the Institute of Theology.
  2. Professional Support Directors or their nominees.
  3. Director of the Students’ Union.
  4. Any member of staff in charge of a field trip (see Conduct Regulation 3.22).

2.6 Allegations of misconduct made against any student will be dealt with by the Disciplinary Officer or a Committee of Discipline (see Conduct Regulation 3.12 or 3.13), in consultation with any other appropriate officer of the University if necessary.  

2.7 The jurisdiction of a Pro-Vice-Chancellor and the Committee of Discipline is unrestricted. The jurisdiction of Disciplinary Officers shall be as follows, except in any case where the Vice-Chancellor exercises the power given in Conduct Regulation 2.4 above to refer the case to the most appropriate Disciplinary Officer:

  1. That of a Head of School to students registered in their School.
  2. That of the Director of Information Services to cases concerned with students in the course of using or occupying premises, equipment, or property of the University Library and to cases concerned with students using or occupying the premises, equipment or property of Information Services, or involving the misuse of University computers on internal and external networks throughout the University. The University has an Information Security Policy that contains acceptable use policies for the internet and e­mail. All students are bound by the provision of this Policy and the Director of Information Services shall have the summary power to suspend student access to computing facilities and shall report such action to the Vice-Chancellor.
  3. That of the Head of Public Engagement (or nominees) to students off-campus, whose behaviour and/or actions may violate the Conduct Regulations, for example, by bringing the name of the University into disrepute.
  4. That of the Director of the Institute of Professional Legal Studies to students registered for any course in the Institute and to cases concerned with the premises, equipment or property of the Institute, or activity related to being a student of the Institute.
  5. That of the Director of the Institute of Theology to students registered for any course in the Institute and to cases concerned with the premises, equipment or property of the Institute or the Theological Colleges, or activity related to being a student of the Institute.
  6. That of the Director of Queen’s Sport to cases concerned with students in the course of activity relating to, using or occupying the premises, equipment or property of Queen’s Sport.
  7. That of the Director of the Students’ Union to student members of the Students’ Union and to cases concerned with their behaviour within the Students’ Union, in the course of activity related to the Students’ Union, and the premises, equipment or property of the Students’ Union. Also included are any premises within the University where Students’ Union events are organised, University playing fields, and breaches of the Conduct Regulations committed in the course of Rag Day activities.
  8. That of the Head of Accommodation to students living in University residences and the premises, equipment or property in these residences.
  9. That of a member of staff in charge of a field trip to students on the trip.

2.8 In complex cases, where more than one procedure may apply, the Director of Academic and Student Affairs shall decide which University Regulations shall be followed.

2.9 Advice on the Conduct Regulations is available from Academic Affairs (email academic-affairs@qub.ac.uk).  If necessary, a hearing may be adjourned to permit appropriate consultation.

Confidentiality

2.10 The University will take all reasonable steps to limit the disclosure of information as is consistent with investigating the issue(s) raised and the provisions of the Human Rights Act 1998, the Data Protection Act 1998, the Freedom of Information Act 2000, and any other relevant legislation. All staff and students who become involved in the Disciplinary Procedures are required to respect the integrity of the process and the confidentiality of information arising from it both during and after the conclusion of the process, unless there is an overriding reason to disclose information.  Information will only be released to those who need it for the purpose of investigating or responding to a matter; no third party will be told any more about the investigation than strictly necessary in order to obtain the information required from them. Where a statement of complaint has been made about a student or a member of staff, that person will normally be provided with a copy of the statement.  Any person who makes a statement of complaint will be advised of this accordingly.

Communication

2.11 The University will normally communicate by email with anyone involved in the University process.  In the case of registered students or University staff, this will normally be to their University email address.  Where correspondence is sent to a registered student by post it will be sent to the term-time address registered with the University. 

Notification of decisions

2.12 Unless otherwise stated, notification of a decision will be sent to the student and copied to relevant persons normally within five working days of the decision being taken.  If there is a delay in the decision being made, the student will be advised. 

Defamatory or derogatory comments

2.13 Students should be careful not to make unsubstantiated or defamatory allegations or comments about students, members of University staff or any other person.  If the University considers that an allegation or comment may be deemed to be defamatory, it may require it to be retracted or deleted before permitting the investigation to continue.  If a student refuses to do so, the offending material may be deleted by the University and the student may also be referred for a separate investigation under these regulations.

Evidence

2.14 The University reserves the right to request and consider independent evidence, including medical evidence, as it deems appropriate.  Where considered necessary, a committee may adjourn a meeting in order to allow time for such further evidence to be obtained. 

No Formal Complaint

2.15 The University reserves the right to take disciplinary action against a student accused of misconduct of its own volition, even if the reporting student does not wish to make a formal complaint.

Duty of candour / fabricated evidence

2.16 It is expected that any person involved in any University process will treat all others involved with respect and courtesy and will  behave honestly and with integrity throughout the process.  It is also expected that any evidence (written or oral) provided to the University will be true to the best of that person’s knowledge.  

Any registered student considered to have acted dishonestly or to have provided false evidence may be referred for investigation under the Conduct Regulations and/or the Fitness to Practise Procedure (as appropriate). 

Right to Be Accompanied

2.17 Any student against whom an allegation of misconduct has been made may access support from the University’s Student Wellbeing Service.   Advice and support is also available from the Students’ Union.

2.18 Any student has the right to be accompanied at any stage in the proceedings by a registered student of the University (which shall include a Students’ Union Sabbatical Officer), or a member of staff of the University, or University Chaplaincy. At all stages of the process, students will be notified of their right to be accompanied. A student may be permitted, exceptionally, and with the approval of the Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Education and Students), to be accompanied by an additional internal member of the University or a member of an external organisation to ensure that the pastoral needs of the student are fully met.  In such cases, the input of Disability Services and Student Wellbeing will be sought in advance.

Disciplinary Meetings

2.19 Students are required to attend disciplinary meetings (ie a Disciplinary Officer Hearing, a Committee of Discipline meeting or a Student Discipline Appeals Committee meeting). 

2.20 Where a student fails to attend a meeting without good cause, the Disciplinary Officer or Committee may consider the case in the absence of the student and without further notice if the Committee is satisfied that the date, time and venue of the meeting have been notified in writing to the student.  

2.21 Where a student notifies Academic Affairs that they will be unable to attend the Disciplinary Officer Hearing or the Committee meeting and shows good cause, the Disciplinary Officer or the Committee may exercise their discretion to adjourn the hearing at any time.  It is the responsibility of the student to establish good cause to the satisfaction of the Disciplinary Officer or the Committee.

2.22  The Disciplinary Officer or the Committee may exercise its discretion to adjourn the meeting at any time.

Anonymous reports

2.23 Anonymous reports of concerns will not normally be considered.  However, where the report raises issues of serious concern, the University may take steps to investigate the matter. 

2.24 Only in exceptional circumstances will the identity of the person reporting a concern be permitted to remain confidential, provided this is consistent with the rules of natural justice.

Equality, diversity and fair treatment

2.25 The University has a legal, as well as a moral duty, to treat all students fairly.  The University values and promotes equality and diversity and will seek to ensure that it treats all individuals fairly and with dignity and respect.  The University seeks to provide equality to all, irrespective of: gender, including gender re-assignment; marital or civil partnership status; having or not having dependants; religious belief or political opinion; race (including colour, nationality, ethnic or national origins, including Irish Travellers); pregnancy, including maternity and paternity rights; disability; sexual orientation and age.

2.26 Within this procedure, where possible, there will be an equal gender balance on committees.

Less favourable treatment

2.27 No person who is subject to investigation under this procedure will be treated less favourably as a result.  Victimisation shall be grounds for a further, separate complaint.

Standard of proof

2.28 At all times, the principles of natural justice shall be observed and the standard of proof shall be on the balance of probabilities.

Reasonable adjustments

2.29 Students will be invited to notify Academic Affairs if they require any reasonable adjustments in order to make the process accessible.  This may include consultation with Disability Services.

Deadlines/Timescales

2.30 The University will endeavour to meet all timescales set out in this procedure. It may however prove impossible to meet these timescales when key staff are on leave, or otherwise indisposed, or where the complexities of the case warrant extended scrutiny.  Where it is not possible for the University to meet the deadlines, for whatever reason, the student will be informed.


3. Definition of Misconduct

3.1 Misconduct under these regulations is deemed to be improper interference, in the broadest sense, with the proper functioning or activities of the University, or those who work or study in the University; or behaviour which brings, or may bring, the University into disrepute. Misconduct includes sexual misconduct. This applies whether or not the misconduct takes place on University property and can include misconduct through Social Media. The Conduct Regulations are in place to protect the well-being of the students, staff, wider community and the reputation of the University. Some of the most common examples of misconduct and guidance on standard penalties for those offences are listed in Annex 1.

3.2 Subject to Conduct Regulation 3.3, these regulations, if invoked, will take precedence over all other University Codes and Regulations without prejudice to Conduct Regulation 3.20 below.

3.3 In cases where either the Conduct or Fitness to Practise Regulations may be invoked, the University Officer with whom a complaint has been lodged shall liaise with the appropriate School and any other Officer as required. In consultation with the Director of Academic and Student Affairs they shall decide which set of regulations should apply. However, the decision to invoke one set of regulations does not preclude a later decision to transfer a case to another set of regulations, if the circumstances or details of the case, after further investigation, deem it to be more appropriate.

3.4 Once a student has signed a contract as a member of University staff (excluding students employed through Oncampus Jobs), any allegation of misconduct which relates to their employment, will be dealt with by the Human Resources Directorate.  Human Resources should ensure that any student employed immediately after their period of study, is not subject to misconduct under these regulations.  

3.5 In circumstances where behaviour arising from a diagnosed or suspected mental illness and/or physical or behavioural difficulties constitutes a breach of the Conduct Regulations, disciplinary procedures will normally be a last resort, and will be applied only if reasonable adjustments, medical and counselling interventions have failed to address satisfactorily the problem behaviour, or have been refused by the student.

3.6 The regulations apply to misconduct occurring in any place to which a student is permitted access by virtue of their status as a student which may bring the name of University into disrepute. For example, visits to other institutions including overseas academic exchange or placement visits, field trips and work placements, are also covered by these regulations. Students must also comply with any special study regulations made known to them.

3.7 The University reserves the right to invoke its own disciplinary procedures, not excepting that a professional, statutory or regulatory body (PSRB) may have initiated civil, criminal or other proceedings, if it is considered appropriate. Where a finding of misconduct is made, and the student has been disciplined by a PSRB, the professional body’s penalty shall be taken into consideration in determining the penalty under these regulations.

3.8 The University will not investigate criminal offences.  However, the University will investigate allegations of misconduct if it is deemed that the student’s behaviour may constitute a breach of the University’s Conduct Regulations. Where the alleged misconduct would also constitute an offence under the criminal or civil law, any action under these regulations will normally be postponed pending the outcome of the criminal or civil proceedings.  However, the University reserves the right to consider imposing a precautionary suspension (see section 5 below) or to take action under these regulations, if considered appropriate.  

3.9 The level of disciplinary action which will be pursued in each case will be determined by the particular circumstances. However, the severity and circumstances of an offence should be taken into account when determining whether it should be heard by a Disciplinary Officer or a Committee of Discipline.

3.10 The list below provides examples of offences normally heard respectively by a Disciplinary Officer and a Committee of Discipline.

3.11 A second offence of an identical or similar nature will normally be referred to a Committee of Discipline.  A second offence of a different nature may be dealt with by a Disciplinary Officer.

3.12 Disciplinary Officer

  1. Smoking in a non-designated area (outside).
  2. Drinking alcohol in a prohibited area.
  3. Smoking in a prohibited area (inside).
  4. Minor anti-social disturbance including off-campus noise disturbance.
  5. Causing minor harm, or threatening to cause minor harm, to another person (eg slap, push).
  6. Minor vandalism or malicious damage to property.
  7. Failure, without reasonable cause, to produce accurate identification upon demand to authorised persons, who should identify themselves.
  8. Disruption of, or interference with, the activities of the University, whether on University premises or elsewhere.
  9. Obstruction of, or improper interference with, the functions, duties or activities of any student, member of staff or other employee of the University or any authorised visitor to the University.
  10. Behaviour which interferes with the legitimate freedom of speech, ideas, actions or enquiry of any other student or member of staff.
  11. Indecent misconduct (minor).
  12. Failure to comply with a penalty previously imposed under these regulations for a minor offence.
  13. Contempt of the University’s Discipline procedures by failing to co-operate with the University’s discipline authorities.
  14. Breach of University Regulations or Policy and Procedures, eg the Student Social Media Policy.

3.13 Committee of Discipline

  1. Minor offences committed by a student with a disciplinary record.
  2. Taking property without the consent of the owner.
  3. Major vandalism or malicious damage to property.
  4. Misuse of the fire or other safety equipment.
  5. Failure to cooperate with the University’s discipline authorities on more than one occasion.
  6. Behaviour which brings, or may bring, the name of the University into disrepute.
  7. Possesion of an illegal substance.
  8. Abusive or intimidating behaviour.
  9. Making false, frivolous, malicious, mischievous or vexatious allegations against another member of the University.
  10. Serious indecent misconduct.
  11. Sexual misconduct, including attempted sexual misconduct.
  12. Failure to disclose the required information to the Director of Academic and Student Affairs as required by Conduct Regulation 9.
  13. Fabrication or falsification of evidence provided to the University.
  14. Physical misconduct or threats of physical misconduct.
  15. Public disorder.

The above lists are not intended to be exhaustive.

3.14 If, after consideration of the case against a student, a disciplinary offence is found to have been committed by the student, then the student’s disciplinary record shall normally be taken into account by the Disciplinary Officer or the Committee in deciding the appropriate penalty.  

General Approach to Dealing with Misconduct

3.15 All staff and students who become involved in student conduct matters are required to respect the integrity of the process and the confidentiality of information arising from it. Any person who makes a statement alleging misconduct by a student must accept that their statement(s) may be provided to the student.

3.16 The following regulations do not preclude any member of staff from taking reasonable emergency action to prevent, stop, minimise, or otherwise control any conduct by a student which, in the opinion of a member of staff, constitutes misconduct and warrants emergency action. What constitutes an emergency, and the action to be taken will depend on the particular situation, but circumstances involving the safety of others, or affecting the proper functioning of the University, may require immediate action. As soon as reasonably practicable after the emergency action has been taken, the member of staff shall take steps to invoke the University's regulations.

3.17 The regulations are intended to ensure a speedy and efficient resolution of issues. Reasonable time will be allowed for the preparation of representations and the investigation of the circumstances of the allegations. The aim is to prevent unnecessary delay whilst ensuring a full and fair assessment of any individual case.

3.18 A complaint of misconduct shall normally be made to the appropriate Disciplinary Officer. If considered appropriate, the Disciplinary Officer, with the consent of the complainant and the student accused of the misconduct, may resolve the matter without further action.  If a complaint is brought directly to the Vice­-Chancellor, the Vice-Chancellor will delegate it to the appropriate Disciplinary Officer.

3.19 At the conclusion of the disciplinary procedure, the complainant will normally be advised whether the Conduct Regulations were invoked and, if so, whether a sanction was imposed on the student.  However, the details of the outcome of the disciplinary proceedings against the student will not be disclosed.  The complainant should also be reminded of the duty of confidentiality of all persons involved both during the process and after its conclusion.  

3.20 Where a complainant is dissatisfied with a decision by a Disciplinary Officer or other officer of the University not to invoke the Conduct Regulations, the complainant may refer the matter to the Vice-Chancellor (or nominee), who may instruct the Disciplinary Officer to take action under the Procedures, take action themselves, or otherwise deal with the matter. The decision of the Vice-Chancellor (or nominee) shall be final.

3.21 The disciplinary procedure for dealing with misconduct outlined in these Regulations is set out in a flowchart in Annex 2.

Dealing with Students on a Field Trip

3.22 If an alleged incident of misconduct occurs whilst on a field trip, the member of staff who is in charge of the trip shall be deemed to be the Disciplinary Officer. In serious cases of misconduct, immediate action can be taken against the student by the Disciplinary Officer, if required, in consultation with another Disciplinary Officer in the University (see 3.22). On return to the University, the regulations may be invoked (see Section 10) and, if considered appropriate and in consultation with Academic Affairs, the matter can be referred directly to the Committee of Discipline. If the misconduct is deemed to be less serious, the Disciplinary Officer may impose sanctions on the student, or group of students involved whilst on the field trip (eg withdrawal of privileges including suspension for part, or remainder of the field trip). During all stages of this process, a note shall be kept of any meetings/interviews held.


4. Breaches of Discipline (Students’ Union Sabbatical Officers)

The following is an extract from the Students’ Union Constitution Chapter 5, Other Procedures and retains its original numbering.

Breaches of Discipline

1.1  The procedures and protections of the Student Conduct Regulations of the University shall apply in respect of Sabbatical Officers as they apply to any student.

1.2  In relation to any Sabbatical Officer who acts in a manner which, in the opinion of at least a two-thirds majority of the Management Board, is in contravention of the Student Conduct Regulations or the Student Officer Protocol, then the Management Board may at its discretion request that the Vice-Chancellor of the University consider whether disciplinary action is appropriate in the circumstances.

1.3  The Senate shall be notified, at the earliest reasonable opportunity, of all instances whereby allegations of misconduct against a Sabbatical Officer are proven. All such disciplinary action shall be implemented in line with the University’s Student Conduct Regulations.

1.4  The University’s Student Conduct Regulations shall apply to Non-Sabbatical Officers, in relation to any breach of discipline including a breach of the Student Officer Protocol.

1.5  Minor offences as defined in the University’s Student Conduct Regulations by Non-Sabbatical Officers shall be dealt with by the Union according to the instrument of delegation of disciplinary powers as contained within the Student Conduct Regulations.


5. Precautionary Suspension or Exclusion

5.1 Subject to Conduct Regulation 5.2, a student who is the subject of a complaint of misconduct, or against whom a criminal charge is pending, or who is the subject of police investigation, may be subject to a precautionary suspension or exclusion from the University (or part thereof) by the Vice­-Chancellor (or nominee) pending a disciplinary hearing outcome of a police investigation or criminal or civil proceedings(see Conduct Regulation 5.8).  The terms of the precautionary suspension or exclusion, will be notified in writing to the student.

5.2 The purpose of a precautionary suspension or exclusion is to prevent reoccurrence of any (alleged) misconductand/or in order to protect the members of the University community in general, or a particular member or members, or to prevent any continuance of damage to the University’s reputation. This authority shall be used only where the Vice-­Chancellor (or nominee) is of the opinion that it is necessary to take such action. Written reasons for the decision shall be recorded and made available to the student.   The imposition of a precautionary suspension or exclusion from the University (or part thereof) should not be interpreted as an indication that the University has taken any view relating to the guilt or innocence of any student.

  1. Suspension is the total prohibition on attendance at or access to University facilities and on any participation in University activities; but it may be subject to qualification, such as permission to attend for the purpose of an examination.   Students under suspension will not be eligible to enrol or graduate.
  2. Exclusion is the selective restriction on attendance at or access to the University (or part thereof) or access to University facilities or prohibition on exercising the functions or duties of any office or committee membership in the University or the Students’ Union, the exact details to be specified in writing.

During any period of precautionary suspension or exclusion, a student shall be offered appropriate pastoral support by the University’s student support services, and the student shall have access to these services.

5.3 A condition of a precautionary suspension or exclusion may include a requirement that the student should have no contact of any kind with a named person or persons.

5.4 No student shall be subject to precautionary suspension or exclusion unless they have been given an opportunity to make representations to the Vice-Chancellor (or nominee). Where for any reason it appears to the Vice-Chancellor (or nominee) that it is not possible for the student to attend, for example the student is in custody or is abroad, the student shall be entitled to make written representations within five working days of the suspension or exclusion taking effect.   The student will not be required or requested to disclose any details of the alleged offence.  However, a student will be expected to provide such information as is necessary to enable a decision to be taken relating to a precautionary suspension, an emergency precautionary suspension or exclusion (see Conduct Regulation 9).  

5.5 A decision to impose a precautionary suspension or exclusion on a student shall be subject to review normally every four weeks, taking account of any developments, or any written representations made by the student. Such a review will not involve a hearing. This timescale may be altered by the University with the agreement of the student.

5.6 Any period of precautionary suspension or exclusion may be effective until the outcome of a police investigation, criminal, civil or disciplinary proceedings is known. At that stage the Vice-Chancellor (or nominee) shall review what, if any, further action shall be taken under these regulations.

5.7 The student shall have the right to appeal the decision of the Vice-Chancellor (or nominee) to a Review Panel.  The Review Panel will comprise a Pro-Vice-Chancellor and senior colleague and their decision shall be final.  

Emergency Precautionary Suspension or Exclusion from University Premises

5.8 From time to time it may be necessary to impose a precautionary suspension, an emergency precautionary suspension or exclusion on a student (see Conduct Regulation 5.2) with immediate effect, pending further action under the Conduct Regulations.

5.9 The Director of Academic and Student Affairs may consult with senior colleagues and will, where appropriate, impose an emergency precautionary suspension or exclusion on a student for a maximum of five working days, pending a review of the decision by the Vice-Chancellor (or nominee).


6. Risk Assessment (relating to precautionary suspension, emergency precautionary suspension or exclusion)

6.1 A risk assessment will be carried out by the Pro-Vice-Chancellor (or nominee) or the Director of Academic and Student Affairs (or nominee).  The risk assessment will consider the potential risks to the individual, other members of the University and to the University.  Students against whom an allegation of criminal activity has been made will not be required or requested to disclose the details of any such alleged misconduct where such disclosure could prejudice a police investigation or criminal proceedings (see Conduct Regulation 9).  In these circumstances, the student will be advised of their right to seek legal advice before discussing the matter with any member of University staff.  However, legal representation will not be permitted at any meeting deemed necessary. 

6.2 The University reserves the right to take any steps under these regulations which it deems to be necessary and appropriate, including imposing a precautionary suspension or exclusion, including an emergency precautionary suspension. 

6.3 Where deemed necessary, the Pro-Vice-Chancellor (or nominee) or the Director of Academic and Student Affairs (or nominee) may appoint an Investigating Officer to carry out an investigation into any risk involved to the individual student, other members of the University or to the University.  A student may be invited to attend a meeting with the Investigating Officer in order that information can be gathered for risk assessment by the Director of Academic and Student Affairs (or nominee) and consideration of an emergency precaution or exclusion.  A note-taker will attend the meeting and the student may be accompanied (see regulations 2.17 -2.18 above).


7. Agreements about Facts and Future Behaviour

7.1 The University recognises that it has a duty of care to any student who makes a complaint against another registered student and also to any student against whom a complaint has been made. 

7.2 In some cases involving two registered students, it may be possible to reach agreement about some of the issues in the case in order to focus on the issues that need to be addressed pending the outcome of any criminal, civil or disciplinary proceedings. 

7.3 Where it appears that an incident may have occurred between two students but the facts are unclear and/or disputed by the parties, the University will seek, where possible, to facilitate both students in their continued attendance at University and use of University facilities, including University accommodation.  However, this may entail one or both students making changes to their routine or moving accommodation.  Students should be prepared to make compromises and concessions in order to reach an agreement.  In requesting or requiring a student to do so, the University makes no judgment on what may or may not have occurred or on the guilt or innocence of either party.  The University will seek to protect both students and to provide an environment in which they both feel safe and can continue on their programme of study pending the outcome of any criminal, civil or disciplinary proceedings. 

Future Conduct Agreement

7.4 A Future Conduct Agreement will set out any agreement by the two students involved regarding their future behaviour towards each other and any other person involved in the process, including witnesses.  The Agreement may include the students’ consensus about:

  • no contact with each other,  verbal or written, direct or indirect
  • reporting “near misses” (ie unintended and unforeseen contact)
  • for one or both to move accommodation
  • for one or both to make changes to their programme of study or study routine.

8. Criminal Offences

8.1 The University will not conduct investigations into allegations of criminal offences.  The University acknowledges that the Police and Public Prosecution Service are properly tasked to investigate and prosecute criminal offences.  The University will co-operate fully with any police investigation and any subsequent legal proceedings. The University will liaise with police but will at no time undertake any investigations or actions which could compromise a police investigation or criminal proceedings.  Where a police investigation or criminal proceedings are on-going, the University will normally postpone any disciplinary proceedings under the Conduct Regulations pending the outcome of any such police investigation or criminal proceedings.  However, the University may carry out a risk assessment and may, where deemed necessary, suspend a member of the University or take such other action as required to protect the safety of any person or the reputation of the University (see Section 5 of these regulations) or take action under these regulations, if considered appropriate.

8.2 The University shall seek and maintain liaison with the police. Advice may be sought on whether a matter is considered by the police to be serious or not. 

8.3 The University will not normally report to police any allegation of a crime against the wishes of the student who makes the allegation.  However, the University reserves the right to report an allegation of a serious crime where it considers that there may be a serious risk of harm to any person or to prevent a further crime taking place.  Such decisions will be taken on a case-by-case basis after careful consideration of the wishes of the student who made the allegation and the circumstances of the case.   Advice may also be sought on whether there are compelling reasons for reporting a matter formally to police where the victim is opposed to such action. In certain circumstances it is a legal requirement to report incidents to the police.

8.4 Where the alleged misconduct would also constitute an offence under the criminal law, action under these regulations will normally be postponed pending the outcome of the police investigation or criminal proceedings, with the exception of imposing a period of precautionary suspension and / or exclusion. 

8.5 Where a finding of misconduct is made, any penalty imposed by a criminal or civil court shall be taken into consideration in determining the penalty under these regulations.


9. Disclosure of allegations of criminal activity

9.1 The University takes the health, safety and wellbeing of all its staff and students seriously and in order to assess any potential risk, it deems disclosure of certain criminal information necessary.  Where, after admission to the University but before ceasing to be a student, if a student::

  • is notified that they are under police investigation for a relevant offence
  • is subject to bail conditions which have any impact on their ability to attend campus or carry out study (whether pre-charge / police bail or court bail)
  • is charged with a relevant offence
  • is summonsed in relation to a relevant offence
  • receives an Anti-social Behaviour Order, a Non-Molestation Order or an Order under the Protection from Harassment (Northern Ireland) Order 1997

the student must inform the Director of Academic and Student Affairs immediately.  The student must disclose to the Director of Academic and Student Affairs:

  • the nature of the offence for which they are under investigation
  • any bail conditions imposed by police or court
  • the charge (if any) against the student
  • the name and contact details of the Investigating Officer, if known.

9.2 For the purpose of Conduct Regulation 9.1, a relevant offence is a criminal offence involving any act of violence, offences concerning the intention to harm or resulting in actual harm, the unlawful supply of controlled drugs or substances where the conviction concerns commercial drug dealing or trafficking, offences involving firearms, arson or those listed in the Sex Offences Act 2003 or The Terrorism Act 2006.

9.3 Students whose programmes are covered by the Fitness to Practise Procedure must disclose to the University if they become subject to a police investigation and/or pre-charge or court bail conditions or acquire a criminal record, after admission and before graduation, relating to any criminal offence.

9.4 The University may carry out a risk assessment (see section 6 above). The University may contact the police with a view to obtaining information to enable it to carry out an assessment of the risk of harm or injury to the student, other students, staff, visitors or other users of University facilities or to its reputation.

9.5 Failure to disclose the required information to the Director of Academic and Student Affairs as stated in Conduct Regulation 9.1 above, normally within two working days of the student becoming aware of the investigation, imposition of bail conditions, charge or summons may constitute a disciplinary offence (see Annex, 1 Table 2).  The student will not be requested or required to disclose any details of the alleged offence other than the information set out at 9.1 above.

9.6 For the avoidance of doubt, no student is required to or should make any application for information pursuant to section 7 of the Data Protection Act 1998 in providing information referred to in Conduct Regulation 9.1.

9.7 Conduct Regulation 9.1 applies to students during a period of temporary withdrawal (see Regulations for Students 1.20 xii) and to any student under suspension (including an emergency or precautionary suspension for a related or unrelated matter).

9.8 Following disclosure by a student pursuant to Conduct Regulation 9.1, the Director of Academic and Student Affairs may consult with senior colleagues and/or other appropriate persons and will, where appropriate, impose an emergency precautionary suspension or exclusion pursuant to Conduct Regulation 5.


10. Investigation

10.1 The Investigating Officer for off-campus offences shall normally be the Community Engagement Manager (or nominee).  In all other cases the Disciplinary Officer (see Conduct Regulation 3.12) shall appoint an Investigating Officer. The Investigating Officer shall normally, within five working days of the University’s receipt of the complaint, initiate an investigation into the matter.   This shall include the examination of written evidence from the person(s) bringing the complaint against the student, evidence from the student concerned, and other relevant evidence.

10.2 The student shall be interviewed by the Investigating Officer who shall be responsible for ensuring a record of the meeting is taken. The Investigating Officer shall notify the student in writing by email to the student’s University email address or in hard copy of:

  1. The details of the allegations against them giving sufficient detail to enable the student to properly understand the case being made, and their right to be accompanied (see regulations 2.17-2.18 above).
  2. Any suspension from their course, or limitations or conditions placed upon the continuance of their studies, accommodation, or access to University services or facilities, placement, or supervised practice during the period of the investigation.

10.3 The Investigating Officer shall make a written report of the results of the investigation to the Disciplinary Officer detailing all the evidence obtained and making a preliminary recommendation.

10.4 If the Disciplinary Officer considers the circumstances warrant it (e.g. if the facts of a case are not contested), they may deal with the case summarily.

10.5 If the Disciplinary Officer decides that there is no case to answer, then the Disciplinary Officer shall dismiss the case. If the Disciplinary Officer decides that there is a prima facie case to answer, the student may be interviewed by the Disciplinary Officer (see Conduct Regulations section 11).  If the Disciplinary Officer considers the circumstances warrant it (e.g. if the case is not complex and the facts of the case are not contested), they may make a decision and impose a penalty within the limits specified in Conduct Regulation 14.2, without interviewing the student. If the Disciplinary Officer, in consultation with Academic Affairs, considers the circumstances warrant it, they shall refer the complaint immediately to the Committee of Discipline (see Section 12 below).

10.6 The Disciplinary Officer shall notify the student of their decision in accordance with Conduct Regulation 2.12 above.  


11. Disciplinary Officer Hearing

11.1 A member of staff from the relevant Directorate or School (see Conduct Regulation 2.7) shall normally act as Secretary to the Disciplinary Officer hearing, and shall be responsible for the administration of the hearing. The member of staff shall keep records of the meeting, and shall be responsible for notifying the student of the time and date of the hearing, and for the circulation of documentation. Minutes shall be taken as a formal record of the meeting and retained.

11.2 The student shall be required to attend the meeting with the Disciplinary Officer and shall be given at least five working days’ written notice of the date, time and venue of the meeting.

11.3 The student shall be informed of the identity of the Disciplinary Officer and will receive copies of all documentation to be considered by the Disciplinary Officer, including the Investigating Officer’s report, and also a copy of these Regulations.

11.4 The communication requiring the student to attend the hearing shall:

  1. State the issue(s) to be considered at the hearing, giving sufficient detail to enable the student properly to understand the case being made.
  2. State the findings of the investigation.
  3. Inform the student of their right to be accompanied (see Conduct Regulations 2.17 - 2.18) and state that the student is required to confirm the name of the person(s) accompanying them to the hearing two days in advance of the hearing.
  4. Inform the student of the procedure which will be used at the hearing.
  5. Inform the student that failure to attend the hearing may lead to the consideration of the case and the imposition of a penalty in the absence of the student, without further notice.

11.5 The student shall be allowed five working days in which to prepare their case. All information on which the student intends to rely should normally be made available to the Disciplinary Officer at least two working days before the date set for the interview, including names of witnesses the student intends to call. It is the responsibility of the student to arrange for their witnesses to attend the interview.

11.6 If all the parties involved in the case are in agreement, an accelerated timeframe may be applied.

11.7 The decision of the Disciplinary Officer shall be communicated to the student in writing in accordance with Regulation 2.11 above.  The Head of the relevant School or Director of the relevant Institute shall be informed. The student’s right to appeal a decision to the Committee of Discipline shall also be stated in the communication.

11.8 There shall be no appeal against a referral to a Committee of Discipline, where a finding of guilt has not been made.

Appeals against decisions of the Disciplinary Officer

11.9 Subject to Conduct Regulation 11.8,a student may appeal against a decision of the Disciplinary Officer by submitting the appropriate appeal form stating the grounds of appeal to appeals@qub.ac.uk or in hard copy to Academic Affairs, Level 6, Administration Building, Queen’s University, Belfast BT7 INN.  The grounds for appeal are set out in Conduct Regulation 11.11. The appeal form must be submitted to Academic Affairs by 4.00pm on the date stipulated in the letter giving the decision of the Disciplinary Officer. The stipulated date shall be ten working days after the date of notification to the student of the decision of the Disciplinary Officer.

Grounds for Appeal

11.10 The following are the grounds of appeal which will be considered:

  1. New evidence has become available which could not have been provided to the Disciplinary Officer.
  2. There has been a procedural irregularity in the conduct of the investigation or Disciplinary Officer hearing.
  3. The decision of the Disciplinary Officer was too severe or inappropriate.

12. The Committee of Discipline

12.1 When convened, the Committee of Discipline will normally consist of:

  1. A Dean, Professional Support Director or senior member of academic / academic support staff (who will normally act as Chair)
  2. A Head of School or Director of Education
  3. A Disciplinary Officer
  4. A Students’ Union Sabbatical Officer

Where the student is studying at the Institute of Professional Legal Studies, membership of the Committee of Discipline will include one member of the Inn of Court of Northern Ireland and one member of the Law Society of Northern Ireland nominated by the Council of Legal Education.

12.2 No member of the Committee should have been involved in the case previously. At all meetings of the Committee of Discipline, three members (excluding the secretary) shall constitute a quorum.  A Disciplinary Officer may attend in the place of a Head of School or Director of Education (see Conduct Regulation 12.1 ii above).

12.3 After consultation with Academic Affairs, a member of the Academic and Student Affairs Directorate shall normally act as Secretary to the Committee of Discipline.   They shall be responsible for the administration of the Committee’s proceedings, with due regard to confidentiality, and subject to directions from time to time, given to them by the Committee.   The Secretary shall keep records of the proceedings, with due regard to confidentiality.   The Secretary shall be responsible for the circulation of written submissions and other relevant documents.   Minutes shall be taken as a formal record of the Committee of Discipline hearing and retained.

12.4 If the Chair of the Committee considers the circumstances warrant it (e.g. if the facts of the case are not contested), they may deal with the case summarily.

12.5 The student shall be required to attend the meeting of the Committee of Discipline and shall be given at least five working days’ written notice of the date, time and venue of the meeting.

12.6 The student shall be informed of the membership of the Committee of Discipline and will receive copies of all documentation to be considered by the Committee of Discipline and also a copy of these Regulations.

12.7 The communication requiring the student to attend the hearing shall follow the same format as that detailed in Conduct Regulation 11.4.

12.8 The student shall be allowed five working days in which to prepare their case.   All information on which the student intends to rely should normally be made available for the members of the Committee two working days before the date set for the hearing, including names of witnesses the student intends to call. It is the responsibility of the student to arrange for their witnesses to attend.

12.9 It is the responsibility of the Disciplinary Officer to arrange for the attendance of any witnesses they intends to call. This information should normally be made available for the members of the Committee at least two working days before the date set for the hearing.

12.10 If all the parties involved in the case are in agreement, an accelerated time frame may be applied.

12.11 The student may be invited to submit further information in support of their case to the Committee. Such written information should normally be submitted to the Secretary of the Committee at least two working days in advance of the hearing. The Committee of Discipline shall have access to the record of the first Disciplinary hearing. If new information, which was not available to the student at the time of the original decision, is presented by the student, the Committee will consider it. Other than such new evidence, the Committee of Discipline will consider only the grounds for the appeal submitted by the student. The appeal hearing will not constitute a re-hearing of the case.

12.12 The decision of the Committee of Discipline shall be communicated to the student in accordance with Regulation 2.11 above. The Head of the relevant School shall be informed. The student’s right to appeal a decision of the Committee of Discipline (subject to Conduct Regulation 12.13) shall also be stated in the communication.  

12.13 Where the Committee of Discipline has been convened to hear an appeal against the decision of a Disciplinary Officer no further appeal will be permitted and the student must be referred to their right to make a complaint to the Northern Ireland Public Services Ombudsman (see Section 17).  There shall be no appeal against a referral for the University Fitness to Practise Procedure to be invoked (See Conduct Regulation 14.2 (viii)).  

Appeal against the decision of a Committee of Discipline

12.14 Subject to Conduct Regulation 12.13, a student may appeal a decision of a Committee of Discipline to a Student Discipline Appeals Committee. The appeal must be submitted on the  to the Director of Academic and Student Affairs setting out the grounds for appeal by 4.00pm on the date stipulated in the letter giving the decision of the original hearing. The stipulated date shall be ten working days after notification to the student of the decision, of the Committee of Discipline.

The following are the grounds of appeal which will be considered:

  1. New evidence has become available which could not have been provided to the Committee of Discipline.
  2. There has been a procedural irregularity in the conduct of the investigation or the Committee of Discipline proceedings..
  3. The decision of the Committee of Discipline was too severe or inappropriate.

13. Student Discipline Appeals Committee

13.1 When convened, the Student Discipline Appeals Committee will normally consist of:

  1. A Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Dean or Professional Support Director  (who will normally act as Chair)
  2. The Registrar and Chief Operating Officer or nominee
  3. Two Heads of School or Directors of Education
  4. The President of the Students’ Union or nominee.

Where the student is studying at the Institute of Professional Legal Studies, membership of the Student Discipline Appeals Committee will include one member of the Inn of Court of Northern Ireland and one member of the Law Society of Northern Ireland nominated by the Council of Legal Education.

13.2 No member of the Committee should have been involved in the case previously.  At all meetings of the Student Discipline Appeals Committee, three members (excluding the secretary) shall constitute a quorum.

13.3 A member of the Academic and Student Affairs Directorate shall normally act as Secretary to the Student Discipline Appeals Committee and shall be responsible for the administration of the Committee’s proceedings, with due regard to confidentiality, and subject to directions from time to time, given to them by the Committee.   The Secretary shall keep records of the proceedings, with due regard to confidentiality.   The Secretary shall be responsible for the circulation of written submissions and other relevant documents.   Minutes shall be taken as a formal record of the Student Discipline Appeals Committee and retained.

13.4 The student will be required to attend the meeting of the the Student Discipline Appeals Committee and shall be given at least five working days’ written notice of the date, time and venure of the meeting.

13.5 The student shall be informed of the membership of the Student Discipline Appeals Committee and will receive copies of all documentation to be considered by the Student Discipline Appeals Committee and also a copy of these regulations.

13.6 The communication requiring the student to attend the hearing shall follow the same format as that detailed in Conduct Regulation 11.4.

13.7 The student may be invited to submit further written information in support of the appeal to the Student Discipline Appeals Committee. Such written information should normally be submitted to the Secretary of the Committee, at least two working days in advance of the hearing.

13.8 The Student Discipline Appeals Committee shall have access to the record of the first Disciplinary hearing. If new information, which was not available to the student at the time of the hearing’s decision, is presented by the student, the Student Discipline Appeals Committee will consider it. Other than such new evidence, the Student Discipline Appeals Committee will consider only the grounds for the appeal submitted by the student. The appeal hearing will not constitute a re-hearing of the case.

13.8 The Student Discipline Appeals Committee shall have access to the papers considered by Committee of Discipline, the minutes of the Committee of Discipline meeting, the decision letter and any other information deemed appropriate by the Chair of the Student Discipline Appeals Committee.   If new information, which was not available to the student at the time of the Committee of Discipline decision, is presented by the student, the Student Discipline Appeals Committee will consider it. Other than such new evidence, the Student Discipline Appeals Committee will consider only the grounds for the appeal submitted by the student. The appeal hearing will not constitute a re-hearing of the case.

13.9  The decision of the Student Discipline Appeals Committee shall be communicated to the student in accordance with Regulation 2.9 above 

Decision of the Student Discipline Appeal Committee

13.10 The decision of the Student Discipline Appeals Committee shall be final; there is no further internal right of appeal.  However, any student who feels aggrieved by the decision may make a complaint to the Northern Ireland Public Service Ombudsman (see Section 17).


14. Outcomes

14.1If the student has a previous disciplinary record, this may be taken into account when considering the penalty or penalties to be applied.

Outcomes available to a Disciplinary Officer

14.2 Having considered the allegation of misconduct, the Disciplinary Officer may dispose of the case using one or any combination of the following;

  1. Dismiss of the case.
  2. Find that a disciplinary offence has been committed but that advice and warning should be given to the student. A record of the advice and warning will be retained on their student record.
  3. Conditional discharge – that no further action be taken provided the student fulfils the conditions laid down by the Disciplinary Officer.
  4. A written warning which will stay on the Student Transcript until graduation.
  5. A fine, up to a maximum of £250.
  6. Payment for any loss or damage that resulted directly or indirectly from the student’s misconduct.
  7. Referral of the case to the Committee of Discipline, in consultation with Academic Affairs.
  8. Referral of the case to Academic Affairs for the University Fitness to Practise Procedure to be invoked.
  9. Exclusion involving a selective restriction on, or access to the University, or prohibition on exercising the functions and/or duties of any office or committee membership in the University or Students’ Union, the exact details to be specified in writing. (This does not include exclusion from the student’s course).
  10. Exclusion for a specified period from University accommodation.

Outcomes available to a Committee of Discipline

14.3 The Committee of Discipline shall deal with the case by using one, or any combination of the outcomes in Conduct Regulation 14.2 with the addition of the following:

  1. A fine, not exceeding £500.
  2. Suspension involving the total prohibition on attendance at or access to University facilities and on any participation in University activities; but it may be subject to qualification, such as permission to attend for the purpose of an examination. Students under suspension will not be eligible to enrol or graduate.
  3. Permanent exclusion from University Accommodation.
  4. Expulsion from the University.  

14.4 The standard penalties to be applied for specific offences are set out in Annex 1.


Students’ Union

Note: Any complaint about the conduct of a Sabbatical Officer within the Students’ Union or its immediate environs shall be dealt with in accordance with Section 4 of the Conduct Regulations.


 
 

 

15.  Students’ Union: Delegation of Authority

The Committee of Discipline of the Academic Council, acting under the authority of the Senate, has delegated disciplinary powers to deal with certain breaches of regulations to the Council of the Students’ Union (in relation to the disciplinary control of students within the Students’ Union or within the immediate environs of the Students’ Union). It is important that disciplinary matters should be dealt with at the appropriate operational level within the University and the Students’ Union. Many disciplinary cases are likely to result in minor sanctions and many violations of the Conduct Regulations will not be disputed by the perpetrator. It is equally important to attempt to resolve issues in a more informal setting rather than move too quickly into a formal Committee of Discipline. The Students’ Union Disciplinary Officer will, therefore, handle minor breaches of the student conduct regulations pertaining to the Students’ Union, whilst more serious cases shall be referred to the University’s Committee of Discipline.


16. Students’ Union: Disciplinary Officer Action and Investigation

16.1 When a complaint has been referred to a Disciplinary Officer (see Conduct Regulation 2.5) the Disciplinary Officer shall initiate an investigation into the matter, normally within five working days. For information, the President of the Students’ Union will be informed that an investigation is being undertaken.

16.2 Within the Disciplinary Officer Procedures the normal expectation will be that the investigation and discipline functions of a case will be kept separate. However, it is acknowledged that this may not always be practicable for minor infringements within the Students’ Union, given the relatively low level of staffing and the relatively high incidence of minor infringements generated within the Students’ Union. In such cases, all references to Investigating Officer in the following regulations should be read as applying to the Disciplinary Officer.

16.3 The Director of the Students’ Union will delegate their authority to the Deputy Director or a local area manager to act as a Disciplinary Officer (see Conduct Regulation 2.5). A member of staff from the Students’ Union shall normally act as Secretary to the Disciplinary Officer hearing and shall be responsible for the administration of the hearing. The member of staff shall keep records of the meeting, and shall be responsible for notifying the student of the time and date of hearing, and for the circulation of documentation. Minutes shall be taken as a formal record of the meeting and retained. The Investigating Officer will carry out an investigation into the matter, including the examination of written evidence from the person or persons bringing the complaint against the student and evidence from the student concerned. The Investigating Officer shall be entitled to call for such papers, examine such witnesses and conduct such other relevant enquiries as appear to be necessary.

The Investigating Officer shall notify the student in writing of:

  1. The details of the allegations against them giving sufficient detail to enable the student to properly understand the case being made and their right to be accompanied by a registered student.
  2. The identity of the Investigating Officer.
  3. Any suspension or limitations or conditions placed upon their attendance at, or access to, accommodation occupied by the Students’ Union.

The Investigating Officer shall make a written report of the results of the investigation, to the Disciplinary Officer detailing all evidence obtained during the investigation.

16.4 If the Disciplinary Officer considers the circumstances warrant it (e.g. if the facts of a case are not contested), they may deal with the case summarily without a formal investigation stage being initiated, or if it is appropriate, combine the investigation and discipline stages.

16.5 If the Disciplinary Officer decides that there is no case to answer, then the Disciplinary Officer shall dismiss the case and inform the student in writing. If the Disciplinary Officer decides that there is a prima facie case to answer the student will be interviewed by the Disciplinary Officer and will be given at least five working days’ written notice. If the Disciplinary Officer, in consultation with Academic Affairs, considers the circumstances warrant it, the Disciplinary Officer shall refer the complaint immediately to the Committee of Discipline (see Section 12).

16.6 The letter requiring the student to attend the hearing will:

  1. State the allegations to be considered at the hearing giving sufficient detail to enable the student properly to understand the case being made.
  2. Inform the student of their right to be accompanied by a registered student of the University (which shall include a Students’ Union Sabbatical Officer), or a member of staff of the University or University Chaplaincy. The name of the person accompanying the student should normally be notified at least two working days in advance to the Disciplinary Officer.
  3. Inform the student of the procedure which will be used at the hearing. That is to say that witnesses may be called in support of the complaint or by the student in support of their response and that relevant documentation may be considered at the hearing including any written statement by the student in response to the complaint. Where witnesses are called, they may be subject to examination, cross-examination and re-examination by the parties. Copies of any documents to be produced relating to the complaint should be enclosed with the letter. The student is required to provide to the Disciplinary Officer copies of any documents to which they intend to refer and the names of any witnesses they intend to call normally at least 2 working days before the time set for the hearing to enable consideration to be given to them. (It is the responsibility of the student to arrange for their witnesses to attend the hearing).
  4. Inform the student that failure to attend the hearing without good cause (it is the responsibility of the student to establish ‘good cause’ to the satisfaction of the Disciplinary Officer) may lead to the Disciplinary Officer considering the case and imposing a penalty in the absence of the student without further notice.

The hearing by the Disciplinary Officer shall, as appropriate, be in accordance with the protocol as set out in Section 9. The Disciplinary Officer may adjourn the hearing at any time.

16.7 The student shall be allowed five working days in which to prepare their case. All information on which the student intends to rely should normally be made available for the members of the panel at least two working days before the date set for the interview, including names of witnesses they intend to call. It is the responsibility of the student to arrange for their witnesses to attend the interview. If all the parties involved in the case are in agreement, an accelerated timeframe may be applied.

16.8 The Disciplinary Officer shall deal with the case and either dismiss the charge or impose one or more penalties within the limits specified in Conduct Regulation 16.9.

Powers of the Disciplinary Officer

16.9 Having considered the allegation of misconduct, the Disciplinary Officer may dispose of the case using one of the following or any combination.

  1. Dismiss the case.
  2. Find that a disciplinary offence has been committed but that advice and warning should be given to the student. A record of the advice and warning will be retained on their student record.
  3. Conditional discharge – that no further action be taken against the student, provided they fulfil the conditions laid down by the Disciplinary Officer.
  4. A written warning indicating the possible consequences of any further misconduct.
  5. A fine not exceeding £250.
  6. The imposition of temporary exclusion from the Students’ Union.
  7. Payment for any loss or damage that resulted directly or indirectly from the student’s misconduct.
  8. Referral of the case to the University’s Committee of Discipline, in consultation with Academic Affairs.
  9. Referral of the case to Academic Affairs, for the Fitness to Practise procedure to be invoked.

The standard penalties to be applied for specific offences are set out in Annex 1.

16.10 The Disciplinary Officer shall communicate their decision to the student giving reasons for the decision, in writing, normally within five working days of the decision being made. The student shall also receive a copy of the minutes of the hearing on request. The student’s right to appeal a decision shall also be stated in the communication (see Conduct Regulations 11.9 - 11.10). An annual summary of cases will be prepared by the Disciplinary Officer to be forwarded to the Director of Academic and Student Affairs in August/September of each year.

Where a student has been found to have committed misconduct, details will be retained on a University database. If the student has a previous disciplinary record, this will be taken into account when considering the penalty or penalties to be applied.


17. Northern Ireland Public Services Ombudsman

A student who feels aggrieved by the final decision of the internal process may make a complaint to the Northern Ireland Public Services Ombudsman within six months of notification of the final decision.


   

18. Monitoring

18.1 Public Engagement, Queen's Accommodation, Information Services and Schools shall provide the Director of Academic and Student Affairs with an annual report in October each year, of all the cases dealt with under this procedure.

18.2 The Director of Academic and Student Affairs shall make an annual report on disciplinary offences, including those considered by the Committee of Discipline and Student Discipline Appeals Committee to the Education Committee.  Individual students shall not be identified in the report.